High-Profile Injuries: Week 11

Scout.com's Senior NFL Reporter, Adam Caplan, provides his expert analysis on the impact that key injuries will have on this weekend's NFL action.

The focus of this article isn't to analyze how each team would be affected statistically, but to see what the impact tactically would be for each players' team and also for the opponents in this week's matchups.

Brian Griese, QB - Bears
Injury: Shoulder
Opponent: Seahawks

The veteran signal-caller suffered a sprained left shoulder (non-throwing) during last week's game at the Oakland Raiders. QB Rex Grossman will start Sunday's game at the Seattle Seahawks.

The noticeable difference between both quarterbacks is arm strength. The short-to-intermediate passing game has been part of Griese's repertoire for several years while the vertical or stretch element has been a big part of Grossman's game.

With Grosman behind center, look for offensive coordinator Ron Turner to call for more deep passes. Last week, Grossman hooked up with wide receiver Bernard Berrian for a 59-yard touchdown on a a deep pass.

Steve McNair, QB - Ravens
Injury: Shoulder
Opponent: Browns


Ravens quarterback Steve McNair
David Maxwell/Getty Images

The 13-year pro has suffered through various injuries over the years. McNair suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder in last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that will cause him to miss at least a few weeks. 

But McNair's injury history is a long one. In his 11 years as a starter, he has only played a full season four times. And it could be the injuries that are finally catching up to him. In his starts this season, has just two touchdown passes.

It has become very apparent this season that he's unable to get the ball downfield, which has caused him to be more of a check-down quarterback, meaning he's more likely to dump the ball off short rather than throw the long ball. QB Kyle Boller, who will fill in for McNair, could keep the starting job if he plays well – which means McNair might have thrown his last pass for the team.


Albert Haynesworth, DT - Titans
Injury: Hamstring
Opponent: Broncos

Say what you want about him, but Haynesworth has become one of the most dominant interior defensive linemen in the league this season. And while he's in the final year of his contract, the bottom line is that his team will suffer without him in the lineup.

Haynesworth suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago and missed last week's home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In that game, the Tennessee Titans gave up 146 yards on the ground to RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.

This week, they'll face the Denver Broncos who have a solid running game. And they could see a lot of rookie running back Selvin Young, who is coming off of his first 100-yard rushing performance.

Samari Rolle, CB - Ravens
Injury: Illness
Opponent: Browns

We've been writing about this player for several weeks now, and his situation really hasn't changed much. With Rolle out again, you can expect the Cleveland Browns to pick on his replacement, cornerback Corey Ivy

To make matters worse, their other starting cornerback, Chris McAlister, is going to try to play with what's believed to be a grade-2 PCL sprain – which is typically a six-week injury. McAlister has missed their last three games, plus they had their bye week, which puts him in week five of his injury. If McAlister is one of their eight inactives prior to the game, rarely used cornerback Derrick Martin would start for him. Martin has been victimized by opposing passers the last few weeks.

It will be interesting to see how Cleveland offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski decides to call the game. While Cleveland rarely goes with multiple receiver sets, it might be a good idea to spread Baltimore out since they have injury problems in the secondary. Baltimore's best backup safety, Gerome Sapp (thigh), is out and they're very thin on depth. So we could see third receiver Tim Carter on the field more than usual in this contest.

Adam Caplan is the Senior NFL Reporter for Scout.com.  His breaking news and analysis, reports from Senior Bowl week, NFL Combine, and free agency have been featured for the past three years.

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